Authors: Trish Milburn
|Coven trilogy |
|Belle Books (2012)|
No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It.
"Jax" Pherson has power, enough power to know her future will end in service to the dark coven her father controls. Unless she can stay hidden in a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. She must find a way to live without magic and deny the darkness she feels welling up inside her-the same dark power that fuels the covens around the world.
All she wants is a normal life. A boyfriend. Friends. Some place to belong, but all too soon Jax's barely begun new life hangs in the balance when she discovers that the boy she's attracted to is sworn to kill her kind. He's a hunter with good reason to kill everything that goes bump in the night.
Even the most fleeting use of her power is tantamount to signing her death warrant and will bring both hunter and coven down on her. But can she walk away when her friends are threatened by an old evil? Something created by the magic of witches? Jax's only hope of survival is to convince the boy she loves to forget everything he's ever been taught and help her find a way to fight the covens. To believe there is some good in her.
“Fresh, fun, and dangerous! I can’t wait for the next one!”
#1 NYT bestselling author of the
The Coven Series
By Trish Milburn
Witchcraft Is Her Family’s Business.
No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It.
The guy makes his way down the side of the road, near my hiding spot. My frantic heartbeat increases. He retrieves something from his truck. When he turns back toward the woods, he’s holding a gun in one hand. But when he opens his other hand, it’s the small, dark object lying in his palm, the one with the slight red glow, that really concerns me.
I hold my breath, not moving a muscle, and hope that’s not what I think it is. But deep down, I know it’s a bloodstone. If he were supernatural, he wouldn’t be able to hold it. My heart rate skids to a halt. Supernatural beings don’t tote bloodstones around. Humans do. Humans who hunt my kind.
He’s not some goon my family hired. He’s a hunter, the real deal.
I lean my forehead, warm from the burst of magic I used, against the cool bark of the tree hiding me from my hunter. Why, oh why, did I use my power to zip into these woods? Why couldn’t I have simply run in here like a normal person instead of using inhuman speed that leaves a trail?
Because what were the odds the person driving by was a hunter? The crunch of gravel makes me look up. With a final questioning glance in my direction, he slides the gun, no doubt loaded with spirit-killing rock salt, into the truck’s cab then climbs in. Only when he starts the engine and drives away do I let out the breath I’ve been holding for fear he’d hear the slight sound of air escaping my lungs.
The ground catches me as I slide down to sit at the base of the tree. In the darkness surrounding me, I spot the night animals scurrying across the forest floor. The occasional pair of raccoon or opossum eyes turns my direction before hurrying away. They sense my power, the darkness from which it was born, and don’t want to be anywhere near me.
I lean my head back against the tree’s rough bark, stare at the sky filled to bursting with stars, and let the tears trickle down my cheeks, down my neck to soak into the normal T-shirt of a not-so-normal girl.
Book One of the COVEN series
Bell Bridge Books
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead,) events or locations is entirely coincidental.
Bell Bridge Books
PO BOX 300921
Memphis, TN 38130
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61194-111-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-61194-083-1
Bell Bridge Books is an Imprint of BelleBooks, Inc.
Copyright © 2012 by Trish Milburn
Printed and bound in the United States of America.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
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Cover design: Debra Dixon
Interior design: Hank Smith
To my husband, Shane; my agent, Michelle Grajkowski; and my BFF, Mary Fechter, who all believed in this book as much as I did.
Hot tears burn my eyes as I watch the last of the black coloring disappear from the tips of my long, blond hair, draining away into nothingness. I swipe at the tears as I curse my image. Fate seems determined to smack me at every turn. Not only does my witch DNA evidently make my hair resistant to dye, but soon I’m going to have to use the inhuman power I want so desperately to leave behind.
Who would have thought when I fled my family’s compound in Miami that my biggest obstacles would be disguising myself and getting enrolled in school? Fleeing a coven of deadly witches, buying a used car and purchasing an RV? No problem. Going brunette and getting your average high school education? Monumental tasks. I’d swear that I hear Fate laughing with evil glee each time I try to enroll in school without a parent, and during every failed attempt to alter my appearance.
In my opinion, Fate needs a good, solid bitch slap.
The now empty box of Miss Clairol Silken Black stares back at me from the edge of the tiny RV’s sink. What would the company think if I asked for a refund because their hair color disappeared from my hair in, oh, about thirty seconds? I knock the box into the trash with enough force to make the trash can dance.
The walls of the RV close in, suddenly too small to contain all the worries and frustrations clanging about inside my head like pots and pans in a clothes dryer. I grab my jacket on the way to the door then step out into the cool, dark night. I shiver. How long before my body acclimates to the temperatures here in the North Carolina mountains? Back in Miami, I’d still be wearing shorts, tanks and flip-flops in September. Here, fall is in full swing—at least to my Florida-thin blood.
Muted conversations and the sounds of televisions float out of the other RVs tucked along the creek running through the Rocky Creek Campground. New forest smells tickle my nose. Pine, damp earth, the dustiness of a few fallen leaves—nothing like the familiar scents of sunshine-baked pavement and salty ocean breezes that have been a part of the first sixteen years of my life.
Gravel crunches under my sneakers as I follow the winding drive through the campground. My mouth waters at the scent of grilling meat. It smells so delicious it’s all I can do to keep from introducing myself to the neighbors in hopes of being offered a burger. But I’ve got to be low-profile girl, and using a fake ID to procure a long-term campsite was pushing my luck more than enough.
My stomach doesn’t get the message, however, and rumbles. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m an abysmal cook. For just a moment, I actually miss Hiram, the coven’s chef. A chill races along my skin. I don’t want to miss anything even remotely related to my coven—not even the food.
I turn my back on temptation and keep walking. At the main road, I go right and head into the even thicker night. These mountains are darker than I’ve ever imagined night could be. Miami was never truly dark. Ironic how the darkness that is my family, my coven, can live in such a bright, vibrant city.
The road starts sloping upward, stretching my calf muscles as I climb. All these rolling mountains, cloaked with an endless sea of trees, will take some getting used to. The high country of North Carolina is as different from flat, coastal south Florida as Mars is from Venus. Still, something about this place calls to me, and the landscape lends itself to my disappearance. I hope that this time I’ll be able to stay. Twice I’ve tried to enroll in schools in other towns, but the officials always insist on a parent being present. Since my mother died when I was a child and my father will likely kill me on sight for desertion if given the chance, that leaves one really unattractive option.
I have to use my power of mind control to hijack some innocent tourist into playing my mother for a couple of hours. Tension and nausea well up inside me, replacing the hunger.
An opening in the trees reveals the twinkling lights of Baker Gap below, at the foot of the mountain bearing the same name. I stop and try to make peace with the inevitable. I’ll do it quickly, only stealing as much of the woman’s life as absolutely necessary. As soon as I’m enrolled in Baker Gap High School and my unaware accomplice is safely back where she’s supposed to be, I’ll give up magic forever, renounce my ancestry and all the horrible things witchkind has done in the past three hundred years.